Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer
Reliable Boca Raton lawyers serving all of South Florida
The Law Offices of Schwartz | White focuses almost solely on family law issues and divorce. Drawing on our more than 50 years of combined experience, our Boca Raton divorce lawyers represent clients in the following matters:
- Filing for divorce — Our dedicated team guides clients through the process of filing for divorce in Palm Beach County and throughout South Florida.
- Divorce litigation — When opposing counsel is unwilling to agree to equitable divorce terms, we aggressively pursue a fair judgment in family court.
- Divorce mediation — Florida law requires divorcing parties to participate in family law mediation. This process gives clients a meaningful opportunity to reach a settlement agreement without litigation with the benefit of experienced litigation.
- Divorce for healthcare professionals — Our law firm represents medical professionals or their spouses, including the valuation of medical practices, professional licenses and degrees, protecting what they’ve earned and obtaining what they’re legally entitled to.
Walking you through the dissolution of your marriage in Boca Raton
Divorce is often a stressful and emotional process. The dissolution of your marriage can involve changes in your housing, your financial situation and the stability of your children’s lives. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White, representing clients in Boca Raton and throughout South Florida, work to minimize the stress of your case by keeping you involved and informed at every stage in the process.
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Collaborative Divorce
- Complex Divorce
- Contested Divorce
- Divorce Litigation
- Divorce Mediation
- Divorce For Healthcare Professionals
- High Net Worth Divorce
- Post-Judgment Modifications & Enforcements
- Property Division
- Same-Sex Divorce
We achieve that goal by minimizing conflict whenever possible. When disputes arise, we aggressively represent your interests in issues of property division, custody and spousal support. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a divorce can be over as soon as 20 days after the completion of paperwork or can continue for months or years when the parties remain in dispute.
Requirements for divorce in the state of Florida
Divorce in the state of Florida is simpler than in many other states because the party seeking the divorce generally does not need to show any type of cause. Dissolution of marriage is allowed in any case where the marriage is broken beyond repair. There is no need to prove that a spouse was unfaithful or violent. For the state to grant a divorce, one of the parties must have resided in Florida for at least six months.
Starting the divorce process in Boca Raton
Florida’s divorce process begins with a filing called a “Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.” This form must be signed and notarized. It will then be filed with a court and served to the other spouse. The court’s first task will be to divide the marital property. Because Florida uses “equitable distribution” in divorce cases, there is a presumption that property will be divided evenly unless economic circumstances, the needs of children or other factors warrant a different distribution. Our divorce lawyers tenaciously represent you in court when property division is contested.
How Do I File For Divorce in Florida?
The complex procedures for filing for divorce in Florida can seem overwhelming at first. The Law Offices of Schwartz | White strives to diminish the uncertainty and anxiety associated with divorce by clearly explaining the process. With more than 50 years of combined experience, our attorneys have the knowledge and skills to guide you through your divorce.
In Florida, spouses are not required to show fault in order to file for divorce. The terms irreconcilable differences and irretrievably broken are used to describe a marriage that has disintegrated beyond repair. The following is a list of other divorce law terms you may encounter:
- Petition — The petition initiates the divorce process and requests that the court grant certain terms enumerated by the petitioner.
- Service of process — Service of process is the formal procedure for ensuring that the spouse receives the petition and all other important documents throughout the divorce. Proof of service is provided to the court upon delivery.
- Response — The spouse must respond to the petition in a specified number of days.
- Default — The court may grant a default judgment to the petitioner if the respondent spouse fails to answer the petition by the deadline.
- Financial affidavit — Both spouses are required to complete a financial affidavit that accurately reflects their assets, liabilities and net-worth.
- Discovery — Discovery is the process by which each spouse can obtain and uncover vital, relevant information and documents from the other spouse, as well as witnesses and entities previously unknown or undisclosed by the other party.
- Depositions — Depositions involve questioning a witness under oath before a court reporter and are often used to elicit important information from a spouse or other person who possesses pertinent information.
- Interrogatories — Interrogatories are written questions posed by one spouse to the other.
Special requirements for divorcing parents
To help parents focus on the best interests of their children during divorce, Florida Statute §61.21 requires attendance at a parenting course. This better prepares parents and gives insight and understanding of the difficult issues children deal with before, during and after a dissolution of marriage proceeding.
Helping clients understand the tax consequences of a divorce
A divorce often has unforeseen tax consequences. Our Boca Raton divorce lawyers will help you understand the effects of alimony and property division on your taxes. The person paying spousal support can deduct the amount paid, while the person receiving it must list it as income. This does not happen with child support. We work to fairly divide assets by factoring future taxes into their values. Any investment property such as stocks that contain appreciated assets will have their gains as taxable income when they are sold.
Equitable property distribution between spouses
With the goal of benefiting our clients’ financial situations, our family lawyers are skilled in obtaining equitable property settlements and judgments through mediation and litigation. We take clear, decisive steps on issues involving:
- High-net-worth divorce — Our law firm handles high-profile divorces with discretion and professionalism with an unyielding focus on a positive outcome.
- Property division — We successfully handle the division of assets for high-value, rare and unique items, including real estate, securities, automobiles, antiques and collectibles.
- Spousal support — We ensure that our clients’ rights are protected in spousal support orders.
Issues concerning divorcing parents
Our Boca Raton divorce lawyers strive to reduce the stress of divorce on families. We work closely with our clients to determine what is in their children’s best interests and advocate for our clients’ rights on issues involving:
- Child custody — Our attorneys advocate vigorously for our clients’ parental rights as we work to maintain their children’s best interests.
- Child support — We guide our clients through the complicated process of calculating and establishing child support payments under Florida child support guidelines.
The parent paying child support is not permitted to deduct the amount from income, whereas the parent receiving the payment is not required to include the amount in gross income calculations. Our divorce attorneys consider these rules when determining accurate payment schedules and, when appropriate, may negotiate direct payments for health insurance, medical bills or education in lieu of a portion of the child support if it limits tax liability.
Special IRS rules apply to exemptions for children of divorced parents. Either the custodial or noncustodial parent — but not both in the same year — is permitted to apply the exemption. This tax exemption can add up to significant reductions in tax liability and is an important aspect of settlement negotiations. The Law Offices of Schwartz | White strategizes the most desirable options for our clients, which may include:
- Each parent taking the exemption on alternate years
- The custodial parent signing an agreement granting the right to the exemption to the noncustodial parent
- The noncustodial parent forgoing the exemption in return for another benefit
The former spouse who pays support can deduct this amount from income, whereas the recipient must include the amount in taxable income. For this reason, our lawyers consider tax implications when deciding whether to pursue a lump-sum payment or yearly payments of support. Also, clients may prefer to make spousal support payments rather than other types of property settlements that do not provide tax deductions.
Legal considerations involving children in Florida divorce cases
Florida law requires judges to act in the best interests of children during a divorce. Parents are urged to work together to create a parenting plan that meets the needs of everyone involved. When no agreement is reached, we advocate for you and your children with regard to issues such as child custody and child support. Our lawyers work with parents, children and court-appointed psychologists to help you achieve the best results for your children.
Learn more from our experienced Boca Raton divorce lawyers
To get answers to your Florida divorce law questions, call the Law Offices of Schwartz | White at 561.391.9943 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Our Boca Raton divorce lawyers serve all of South Florida, conveniently located off I-95 in the Bank of America Building. Free parking is available.